Philippine president fires officials over graft charges

Rodrigo Duterte moves to fulfill his vision of a corrupt-free Philippines promised during his campaign for presidency 

Philippine president fires officials over graft charges

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Rodrigo Duterte has attempted to fulfill his campaign promise of a clean government, firing two top police officers as well as executives and Customs officials over graft and corruption charges.

In a news briefing Monday, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the refusal of both Metro Manila Police Director Joel Pagdilao and Quezon City Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio to perform their duties, which resulted in the proliferation of the drug trade in their jurisdictions, was behind the president's decision.

"Both were administratively liable for serious neglect of duty and serious irregularity in the performance of duty and have been duly dismissed," Abella told reporters in Manila.

Duterte had earlier accused Pagdilao and Tinio of being “narco-generals” that protected the illegal drug trade. The National Police Commission during an investigation in August 2016 found probable cause to file administrative charges against the two police chief superintendents.

They were among the first victims of Duterte’s name-and-shame campaign along with Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, retired deputy director general Marcelino Garbo and chief superintendent Vicente Loot.

All five, which Duterte publicly named in a speech in July 2016, denied the president’s accusations.

Also dismissed was Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chairman Jose Vicente Salazar, who was found guilty of grave misconduct in connection with allegations of corruption.

In a decision signed by Duterte's Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued on Oct. 7 but made available Monday, Salazar was found “guilty of two counts of simple misconduct and one count of grave misconduct".

It said the Office of the President found sufficient evidence to support allegations that Salazar influenced or exerted pressure on the bidding and awards committee members for the procurement of an audio-visual presentation project in favor of a bidder and therefore found him guilty of “grave misconduct”.

Accordingly, the Office of the President said grave misconduct is a grave offense punishable by dismissal from service and carries cancellation of eligibility, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, being barred from taking civil service exams and forfeiture of retirement benefits. 

Corruption allegations have swirled around the ERC after one of its commissioners took his own life in November 2016 after allegedly being pressured to approve procurement contracts and hire consultants without proper bidding and procedures.

At the Bureau of Customs, eight district collectors and 30 section chiefs have been relieved and replaced with the newly-installed commissioner's trusted personnel from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. 

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña cited the 38 officials' continued disregard of his order to stop corruption in their respective ports.

A corrupt-free Philippines was a vision Duterte’s campaign for the presidency promised before the Filipino electorate.

In March, Duterte fired at least 92 government employees for graft. They included employees from the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulation Board and Energy Regulatory Commission.

In April, he also dismissed Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismail Sueno, citing a loss of trust and confidence, and several other government officials, including his closest allies, for alleged corruption. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ekim 2017, 10:43